The snow starts to fly near Milford Road in New Hudson Monday. In some areas, it was falling at rates faster than an inch an hour. (Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)
Just when you thought 70.8 inches of snow was enough, 2 more inches (and counting) were dumped on Metro Detroit Monday evening, thanks to a band of snowstorms that swept the state. More snow is expected Thursday night and Friday, according to the local weather service.
Metro Detroiters were expected to see an accumulation of 3-6 inches by this morning, according to the National Weather Service, adding to towering snowbanks that line Metro Detroit roads, lawns and parking lots.
By Monday night, the weather service recorded about 2 inches at Metro Airport in Romulus and in Grosse Ile; 2.7 inches in Ann Arbor; and 2.8 inches in Brighton. A winter weather advisory was in effect until 4 a.m. today.
One hundred salt trucks were out treating roadways in Wayne County on Monday, according to Cindy Dingell, county deputy chief operating officer.
“I guess it was a good day as any for a snowstorm, given it was the presidential holiday,” Dingell said, referring to Presidents Day on Monday. “There was a lot less traffic and most of the snow came after rush hour.”
While the bulk of the snow fell after 7 p.m., whiteout conditions were reported in Wixom around 4:30 p.m. Dearborn declared a snow emergency beginning at 9 p.m. Visibility dropped below a quarter-mile near Metro Airport due to heavy falling snow in addition to blowing snow with gusts up to 17 mph.
If that wasn’t enough, some areas in Metro Detroit found “freezing fog,” or “horror frost” — an uncommon condition where moist air quickly freezes, forming patchy frost on surfaces and visibility drops below a half-mile, according to NWS meteorologist Matt Mosteiko.
Visibility was expected to drop to a quarter mile or less in some areas by midnight. In areas north of Metro Detroit, there were reports of heavier snow. In Saginaw, snow fell at a rate of an inch per hour, leaving residents with 5 inches of snow by late Monday night. Areas in Midland County saw 5.2 inches.
The National Weather Service said snow began falling Monday afternoon in Grand Rapids. Roughly 3-4 inches had fallen by early Monday evening. Traffic crashes closed portions of Interstate 96 in the Grand Rapids area, and part of Interstate 94 in Van Buren County was shut after a multi-vehicle crash.
For Metro Detroit, this winter has already ranked the fifth snowiest since the weather service began recording snowfall amounts in the 1870s. The snowiest ever was the winter of 1880-81, where Detroiters saw 93.6 inches.
Today will bring an end to snow showers and the temperature is expected to rise to 37 degrees with a nighttime low of 28. Temperatures will climb to the 40s by Thursday, according to weather service.
The warmup could be a headache for some areas, which could see flooding with runoff from melting snow in addition to a chance for rain and dense fog.
Michigan State Police issued a warning for drivers.
“There are three main causes of traffic crashes in the Metro Detroit area,” said Lt. Michael Shaw, MSP Second District public information officer. “They are speed, following too closely and inattentive driving. These causes are magnified during severe weather.”
Detroit News Staff Writer Tom Greenwood and the Associated Press contributed.